How to do Cable Chest Press (Variations) – The Ultimate Guide

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.
How to do Cable Chest Press (Variations) - The Ultimate Guide

The cable chest press is a great way to strengthen and tone the chest muscles. It is a great alternative to the bench press or cable crossover.

It is a simple yet effective way of engaging multiple muscle groups, as well as giving you the freedom to target specific areas that may need extra attention.

The cable chest press requires minimal equipment and setup, which makes it incredibly easy to incorporate into your next workout routine.

With steady guidance and form, this versatile exercise can help build total upper body strength while also making great strides in improving overall health.

You will learn how to perform the cable chest press and its variations in this post:

  • Standing cable chest press
  • Single-arm cable chest press
  • Seated Cable Chest Press
  • Cable chest press with dumbbells
  • Decline Cable Press (Standing)

Standing cable chest press

Setting up the pulleys correctly is essential for success in any cable exercise. For optimal results, the stirrups (or handles) should be at hip to chest height.

One way to achieve this is by utilizing a cable chest press machine or cable crossover station both of these provide a great range of motion and flexibility while still giving you the stability and balance you need to complete the movement properly.

step by step guide how to do a Standing cable chest press:

Step 1: Start by standing in the centre of the two pulleys with your feet hip-width apart. Grip the stirrups on each side with one hand at a time, and adjust your arms to create a 90-degree angle. Make sure to keep your head up, and engage your core so that the rest of your body is stable and stationary before starting the exercise.

Step 2: Slowly move the handles forward by extending through your elbows until both of your hands meet in the middle.

Briefly squeeze at this point before slowly managing eccentric contraction – or release while simultaneously retracting your shoulder blades together. Make sure to keep control throughout this movement and pause for 1-2 seconds at peak contraction. 

Step 3: Once you have completed one repetition, switch legs so that you are now in a staggered stance with one leg slightly behind the other.

This will help you maintain balance during the exercise and ensure correct form for maximum benefit from each rep.

Step 4: Continue this process until you have completed all of your desired repetitions or sets of Standing Cable Chest Presses, then take a short break before repeating on alternate side if desired.

Be mindful not to overwork any muscle group as this can lead to injury, instead focus on proper form and technique so that you can perform effective exercises safely and effectively.

Avoid common mistakes:

Taking a stance that is too far forward while working on your pecs can cause instability in your core as well as makes it difficult to properly isolate the area you’re targeting.

To ensure optimal balance, keep your feet planted firmly and your hand grip facing downward towards the floor instead of forward.

This technique helps to shift pressure away from the faint muscles of the forearm onto the pectoral, allowing for greater engagement and effective results.

Standing Cable Chest Benefits:

The standing cable chest press is a great way to take your chest workout to the next level.

Not only does it engage the core and muscles stabilizers more than a standard bench press, it also allows for a greater range of motion which helps stimulate higher levels of muscle activation.

It can be used to improve strength and endurance, allowing you to push yourself further than ever before. Ultimately, this exercise could help boost your overall performance in the weights room and beyond.

Cable Single-Arm Chest Press (Standing)

The cable single-arm chest press is an excellent movement for those looking to work on their chest muscles with isolated targeting.

When performed correctly, this exercise can help improve muscular imbalances and increase range of motion within the shoulder and pectoral muscles.

It also engages the core muscles more than other pressing exercises, giving lifters an added opportunity for total body strengthening.

The cable single-arm chest press is often underutilized but its benefits are wide ranging, making it an important exercise to include in any workout routine targeting the upper body.

Step 1: Begin by standing in a staggered stance in front of a cable station, facing away from the weight stack. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes forward.

Step 2: With the D-handle attachment positioned at chest level, reach behind you and grab it firmly with one hand, your palm facing outward. Hold the opposite hand straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor for balance.

Step 3: Now exhale and push your back hand forward, extending it outwards and towards your chest while simultaneously pulling your front arm back close to your shoulders. Make sure you keep both arms straight throughout this movement.

Step 4: When your arms have reached full extension outwards, pause momentarily before slowly reversing the motion and returning to start position where both arms are parallel to each other once again.

Step 5: Ensure good form throughout this exercise; keep the core engaged at all times, keep both elbows slightly bent (avoid locking them) and maintain a steady breathing pattern throughout each repetition inhaling as you extend forwards and exhaling as you return to start position.

Step 6: To increase intensity or difficulty of this exercise, use heavier weights or perform multiple repetitions for each set (such as 3 sets of 10 reps). Remember to rest between sets if needed and focus on controlling each movement for maximum gains!

Avoid common mistakes:

Trying to save time by holding both handles of a dumbbell and rotating sides is an oft-made mistake that actually minimizes the exercise’s overall effectiveness.

It’s important to take the time to focus on the posture and alignment each repetition in order to maximize results while preventing injury.

Keeping your back straight, squeezing your core muscles, and keeping your spine in its neutral position are all essential components of proper technique when lifting heavy weights.

Taking the extra time to concentrate on each repetition can ensure you truly get the most out of every session.

Seated Cable Chest Press

The cable chest press is a versatile exercise that can easily be performed in a seated position to make it more comfortable than the standing version of the exercise.

The setup of this exercise involves positioning a bench in between two pulleys with the handles at chest height.

When done correctly, this exercise is great for building strength, power and muscle development while also targeting all of the muscles involved in performing a pressing motion.

Moreover, being able to do it from a seated position opens it up to those who cannot stand for long periods of time or are looking to add variety to their workouts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Doing a Seated Cable Press:

Step 1: Begin by sitting on a bench that is in front of a cable machine. Make sure the back of your body is firmly supported and your feet are planted flat on the floor. Your hands should be in line with the middle of your chest. 

Step 2: To ensure proper form, activate your abdominal muscles and draw your shoulder blades downward and inward (depress/retract scapulae). This will help keep you stable throughout the exercise. 

Step 3: As you exhale through your mouth, press forward with both of your arms until they are completely extended but not locked out at the elbows. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position in a controlled manner. 

Step 4: Repeat this exercise for 8-12 repetitions, depending on how many sets you would like to do and how heavy the weight is that you are using. Remember to use proper form during each repetition and be sure to maintain control when returning from each rep to avoid injury or muscle strain. 

Step 5: After completing all necessary sets, relax your arms and allow them hang down at the side of your body for several seconds before getting up from the bench and repeating or moving onto another exercise as desired.

Avoid common mistakes:

One of the most important mistakes to avoid when using a seated cable chest press is pushing too hard or pushing with incorrect posture.

Many people make this mistake, which can lead to an improper range of motion and potentially injure your muscles and joints.

Additionally, it is important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. This may mean adjusting your positioning or taking more time loading up weight as you progress in difficulty.

Additionally, old or damaged equipment should be avoided whenever possible as this could lead to instability that harms your workout and results in inefficient form.

Cable chest press with dumbbells

The dumbbell cable press for chest is an extremely versatile exercise that often goes overlooked by gym goers however its potential should not be neglected!

Not only is this type of press easier to control than a standard dumbbell press without a spotter, but it also provides an increased level of resistance throughout the entire motion.

As a result, it is a great way to get stronger and help target particular parts of your chest muscle while training.

Step-by-Step Guide to Doing a Cable chest press with dumbbells:

Step 1: Attach ankle harnesses, straps, or cables to the dumbbells. Secure the attachment so that it is secure and will not come loose during the exercise.

Step 2: Position the bench in the middle of a cable crossover machine. Make sure that the bench is secure and will not move around while you are doing exercises. 

Step 3: Fasten straps to your wrists and attach them to the lower pulleys on either side of the cable crossover machine. Make sure that they are securely fastened and won’t slip off during your exercises. 

Step 4: Lie supine on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and pick up both dumbbells, placing them on either side of your chest with palms facing forwards. This will be your starting position for this exercise. 

Step 5: Contract your abdominals and tilt your chin towards your chest before pushing up from your chest with both arms until they reach almost full extension but not quite locked out at the elbows. Keep good form throughout this motion as it can be easy to arch or flare out your back unintentionally if you aren’t paying close attention to form. 

Step 6: Once you have pushed up from your chest with both arms, hold for a few seconds before slowly returning back down to starting position in a controlled manner. Make sure that you keep good form throughout this motion as well so that you don’t injure yourself or put undue stress on any joints in your body. 

Step 7: Repeat these steps for desired reps before unhooking yourself from cables and returning dumbbells to their resting place.

Avoid common mistakes:

Your shoulders should remain in contact with the bench throughout the movement and locking your elbows at the top of it allows those muscles to take a break.

Setting the machine up at exactly a 90-degree angle creates more tension during exercises, thus increasing efficiency and avoiding any unnecessary strain on other parts of the body, such as wrists and your pectoralis major.

Decline Cable Press (Standing)

The standing decline cable press is a great way to target the lower pectoralis major head.

This exercise follows the same pressing pattern as the regular cable chest press, but by being in a declined position it further isolates that particular muscle group and provides more effective results.

Decline cable presses also help to increase overall stability due to the increased balance required while in this positions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Doing a Decline Cable Press (Standing):

Step 1: Begin the decline cable press (standing) exercise by positioning the cable stirrups at the highest point of the adjustable apparatus. 

Step 2: Stand in the middle of the cable crossover machine and grasp one handle with each hand. Make sure to use a supine grip, keeping your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and facing towards your lower chest/upper midriff area. 

Step 3: Take a couple steps forward to create tension on the weights, and be sure to keep your core engaged and head up throughout the movement. 

Step 4: Inhale deeply while you drive your elbows outwards and downwards in a pressing motion. Your arms should remain bent at approximately 90 degrees throughout this step. 

Step 5: When both stirrups meet in front of your midriff, squeeze your abdominal muscles for maximum contraction before slowly controlling the movement back to its starting position. 

Step 6: Repeat this motion for 3 sets of 8–10 reps, or as recommended by your fitness coach or physician.


The cable chest press is an incredibly versatile exercise that can help you get the most from your chest routine.

With its different variations, it is an excellent way to mix up your workouts and ensure that you regularly challenge your muscles.

While the traditional cable chest press remains a powerful movement for building strength and endurance, using other variations such as the unilateral cable fly or standing low pulley cable chest press can help develop balance as well as keep your routine varied and interesting.

Together, these variations of the cable chest press should be incorporated into any effective chest workout in order to maximize its potential.

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